I hear your point Tom. I think perhaps what I’m trying to say is that so much of the time, just giving others the chance to speak their side, their truth, has a lot to do with removing tensions. Acknowledging that this is true for YOU, for example, doesn’t mean we agree. It mean that I recognize your right to have a take. That said, there could still be a long way to go to get to any kind of agreement. What I’ve found is that people get so angry because they are constantly either dismissed, ignored, or made to feel stupid or wrong. That only entrenches folks. When space is given to hear someone out, which is to me just a courtesy, allows for cards to be placed on the table. What I think drives so many folks nuts is to be summarily dismissed as stupid, or a moron, or whatever the latest insult happens to be. I agree that at some point you have to take that stand. My sense is that by being willing to hear others out, by acknowledging their right to their viewpoint, it takes so much of the anger away. I have no idea if I’m right but it’s what I’ve seen happen even when I am discussing extremely hot issues with people. They simply want to know: did I listen? Did I understand? Did I hear them? And having gotten that acknowledgement, that goes a very long way towards creating discussion. I often don’t agree in the slightest. But my willingness to hear, to listen, and to get out of the role of making someone wrong, often creates a wholly different environment that moves from shouting match to at least the beginning of an exploration.
When it comes to international polices, sadly, I have to admit that without some might behind the policy they are a shell game. But thoughtful people do listen, they do take time, and even though you may have an iron fist you do wear a velvet glove so that you don’t have to use that force.
I spent some very eye-opening time at the Resistance Museum in Oslo, a friend is the director. It was quite an experience to see what the Norwegians did to resist the Nazis. I think we know so very little of history, most of us, and that’s perhaps one of the reasons I so love traveling. What an eye-opener. Thanks as always for your comments.